On the eve of the season, where do the SnakePit writers think the D-backs will finish?
Keegan Thompson 72
Success for the Arizona Diamondbacks is looking like it will hinge on the starting rotation and bullpen. Both leave a lot left to be desired right now. Zac Gallen being out to start the season is a massive setback. Luke Weaver doesn’t even look like he belongs in the rotation at this point and time. How long of a leash does Caleb Smith have? Alex Young, Taylor Clarke, Jon Duplantier, Taylor Widener, and J.B. Bukausas are going to have to be flexible as they will be moved up and down between MLB and AAA and in and out of the rotation. On the position player side, Josh Rojas has been impressive in Spring Training. I hope that translates to success in the regular season. The top of the lineup can be very dangerous when even just 3 guys are all on it at the same time. Still, it’s an uphill battle in this division and anything more than 72 wins would be gravy on my plate.
Jack Sommers 70
I think the starting pitching is going to get blown out quite a bit [Jim: Jack will be talking more about this later today] and there isn’t enough offense here to make up for it
Starting pitching is in question as of this writing. Gallen will be down at least 6 weeks, Weaver is getting hit hard and often, Smith has not impressed, Mad Bum had a rough start his last outing but looks stretched out, Kelly is looking pretty decent and healthy which is the HUGE plus in all of this madness. At this point Widener, Clarke and MAYBE Young will be getting some starts and those starts could go either way, up or down, thicc or very bad. The bullpen has shown they can hold things down in spring but have also shown at times that there are some bumps in the road. Perhaps Duplantier can be a savior in the pen as he continues to get stretched out. What I do have faith in most of all is the offense. Cabrera, Walker, Rojas, and of course Marte are hot-fire right now. Esky, Peralta, Smith and Locastro are doing well also and have shown that they are ready. But the offense may be digging themselves out of some high run deficits in 2021 if the pitching can’t hold themselves together.
James Attwood 70
Before the injuries started to pile up, I was predicting 75-80 wins. Losing Gallen for a while, along with the struggles of Bumgarner and Weaver, I have adjusted downward. I still don’t think this is a complete dumpster fire of a team, but the fact of the matter is, other than potentially Marte, this team is devoid of healthy star power on the roster. The team has some budding stars in the wings (we all hope), but they won’t be on the Opening Day roster. Nor are they enough by themselves to compete in the stacked NL West.
I feel like we didn’t do a whole lot to improve in the offseason, and our starting rotation is kinda shaky, and while we have a lot of prospects who are nearing MLB readiness, none of them seem to be anywhere close to being a sure thing at this point.
Steven Burt 72
This team just doesn’t have the top end talent that single handedly wins games. Outside of Zac Gallen and Ketel Marte, this team just doesn’t have the game changers to really make a dent in the NL West. They had the opportunity to do so this offseason, with many FA’s settling for 1-year deals, but ownership is cheap and missing on the decline of Madison Bumgarner last year is a massive blow to the budget. This team is just good enough to stay out of the cellar, but not good enough to make much headway. They need multiple everyday hitters to outperform expectations, and the pitchers need to figure it out just to make the play-in game. I’m not holding out hope.
My prediction is 80 wins. Nevertheless, there is an optimistic possibility of up to 84 wins.
My reasoning follows:
- 1A. Let’s start with February’s article How Will The Diamondbacks Improve? Still looking good is my prediction of 4.98 runs scored per game. “FanGraphs’ depth chart projection is that the Diamondbacks’ runs scored per game (RS/G) increases from 4.48 to 4.65. My opinion is that the increase will be larger – a half run increase to 4.98 RS/G, which would nearly match the Diamondbacks’ 2019 season.
- 1B. My new prediction is 4.67 runs allowed per game. Too optimistic was my earlier prediction of 4 runs allowed per game. It was on target that the bullpen will be better than last season. It was on target that a better pitcher will replace Robbie Ray (7.84 ERA). It wrongly assumed much better results from Bumgarner and Weaver. It failed to predict injuries to Zac Gallen and Tyler Clippard. In addition, I am more concerned about the impact of the season’s innings workload.
- 2. My predicted runs scored per game and runs allowed per game give a Pythagorean prediction of 83.6 wins.
- 3. Because the Diamondbacks consistently win less games than the Pythagorean calculation, my predicted wins was reduced to 80.
Michael McDermott 78
The team has a thing of playing opposite to expectations. I don’t think they’re good, but there will be some pleasant surprises.
I want to be hopeful, but it’s just not there. This team wasn’t good last season, and sure, you can talk about Spring Training being messed up, short season, etc, but they also just weren’t good. Potentially even more damning is how little they did to get better. Meanwhile, the Dodgers are still the Dodgers, and now apparently the Padres are the Dodgers too. There isn’t much of a path forward this season as I see it.
Now, we sit back and optimistically wait for this screenshot to be paraded around as the Diamondbacks cruise to the playoffs lol
Because someone needs to have hope on this blog!
C. Wesley Baier 82
If you squint really hard, there’s a winning team here. I’m being very conservative putting them just one game over .500. Although I’ve tempered my expectations for our young prospects offensive output, I’m still optimistic. As always it comes down to pitching.
I was filling out a downloadable schedule with wins and losses and I was a bit shocked that I ended up at 65 wins. I do not think it is out of the question that the D-Backs can be that bad. Our rotation is far from good and the bullpen might be even worse. Besides, we have the Padres and Dodgers in the division and I think that the Giants and Rockies could be better teams than the Diamondbacks. The Rockies have not done anything at all, just like the D-Backs, but ended above us in a shortened 2020, so we have everything to prove we are better. Maybe the only teams that we face and are considerably worse than us are the Pittsburgh Pirates and Texas Rangers.
Some people hold on to the “in the past when no one expected it we did very well” rhetoric, but unless you can prove it statistically in this numbers game, you are just expressing hope based on two things that happened in the past and that feels weird to me. So it makes all sense that we fall flat on our faces this year. Normally I would not end up predicting 65 wins because I think that players like Taylor Widener, Taylor Clarke, JB Bukauskas and Pavin Smith will bring some surplus value and we probably take a surprise win with us on a couple of occasions, but we become sellers again this season and we will say goodbye to Escobar and one of Peralta or Calhoun. I will still watch this team whenever I can, so I hope I am very wrong!
Jim McLennan 69
It was a tough winter, watching the runaway winners last year get significantly better, while the D-backs got… two veteran relievers. Competing in the NL West has probably never been tougher, and the D-backs remain, for now, in a transition phase, waiting for their highly regarded farm system to begin delivering at the major-league level. We may start to see some of the fruits of that later in the year, but I don’t think we’re there yet. Instead, I think even reaching .500 will be tough. Our starting pitching has too many question marks and the injury to Gallen was a big blow. The first month’s schedule is brutal and that could end up wrecking fan interest very quickly. If that happens, it’s gonna be a long season.
Tallying up the answers, and taking Dano’s midpoint (81 wins), the mean prediction across the SnakePit writers is 74 wins (74.38, to be precise). The mode (most popular) answer was 72 wins, and the median (half above, half below) expectation was also 72 wins. But now it’s time for you to put your money where your mouth is, and predict how many wins the 2021 Diamondbacks will achieve. Below is a poll with some broad groupings. But the comments is where the actual glory is to be had. Pick a specific number, and give us your reasoning. Then you can come back in October, and bask in glory if you got it right…